This article first appeared on May 10th, 2010.
I have employed a personal/life coach for the last 12 months and this have been one of the best investments resulting in the best returns. I now want a business coach/mentor. Does this usually involve a significant cost or investment?
A personal coach may just work for some. I personally have never tried it.
I believe professional coaching and mentoring is where the true value lies.
But I will emphasise now – the best mentors are those that don’t need to charge a fee to mentor. They do it because they like the person who has asked them and they want to help in some way.
Throughout my business life I’ve been mentored and have mentored many times over. I can easily say that I have personally mentored hundreds of individuals over the years and never for a fee.
I have had some fantastic mentors throughout my life too, from high profile business individuals through to longstanding business contacts.
Currently, I mentor around 40 people from all different walks of life and for some I have invested in their businesses through Deasil Management Group.
Most are based purely on personal relationships I’ve developed where I want to see the individual and/or their business idea grow and take shape.
I think if you’re going to get real value from a business coach or mentor, you want them interested in you because of your personality and your business acumen and ideas – not because they are receiving a pay cheque.
I say the same about advisory boards. I strongly advocate inviting people to sit on your board in an unpaid role. This way you know their advice and their interest is legitimate.
You may ask why someone would want to mentor you without payment?
Well, believe it or not, many highly successful people who are not driven by getting paid for work they do because they don’t need to are happy to pass on their knowledge and their affiliation with you and maybe your business may even complement their own credentials.
Or believe it or not, they may just really like you. You may want to offer them some equity in your business – this is largely different from paying a fee or salary.
Make sure you weigh up your potential mentor’s worth to you and your business before throwing equity at them.
All in all my personal professional development would not have been as successful without the support of the many mentors I have worked with.
I strongly recommend anyone to seek a mentor and reap the rewards of good advice, new perspectives and ongoing and active interest in your personal and business development.